January 30th

“I depart a week from tomorrow. Lots of feelings running around. I guess I should start packing.”

February 5th

“The days are dwindling. And the hours are sluggish. I don’t want to start my goodbyes. I guess it’s time. I am beyond excited that I get to have this experience. Everything here will be exactly the same when I get back. I just hope my brothers don’t grow up too much while I’m gone”

Feb 6th [A day before my departure]

“Well..what can I even say. I know I likely will not have time to post in the morning before I go.. It has been hard to pinpoint how I have felt the last couple of days. Its a feeling I am unfamiliar with – but one I will grow to know well. A feeling encompassed by growth, and accomplishment. Dreams. I just wanted to take a second to thank everyone for being so supportive and excited for me. Not only did you provide me with tips for my journey – but confidence and reassurance of where I came from, and how it has thus far, and will continue to benefit me. Doing some last minute preparations and then going to TRY to sleep. Big day tomorrow… a big one. Watch out for the first check-in from JFK – and then an utter blow up when I get to LAX. The City of Angels, man. Can’t believe it.”

I flew out from the nearest airport in my hometown area – in Syracuse New York, to JFK in New York City. Where I had a 6 hour layover until my flight to LAX in Los Angeles. Though flight from JFK to LAX was 6 hours long, I had been much too excited to sleep. The moment we flew over LA the windows of the plane were lit up. The lights were amazing. I remember feeling in complete awe. I felt baffled even, that I was travelling to this insanely distant land when I had never even left New York before. I had never even seen the Ocean. None of it really sunk in until LA.

February 8th

“I write this from the plane to post later. NY to LA – prior to boarding, all of the aircraft’s crew left to stretch their legs and use the facilities. And as I was eager to complete my 6 hour wait at JFK and Board, their accents and my people watching made the wait tolerable. When I boarded I just wanted to sleep. And thankfully the couple I was sitting with moved after we ascended so I could lean on the window. I have not thought too much about culture shock considering the plethora of similarities that Australia has with the U.S. – but that was clearly naive of me. I’m merely aboard their aircraft still in US air and noticing cool little things. How is this happening.”

February 9th

“[wrote on plane] The time I spent admiring LA from afar and above seems like so long ago now. I’ve been on this plane to Melbourne for what seems like an eternity. I sat with an awesome aussie couple the entire way though. I always get lucky like that. I touch down in 10 mins. We are driving downward to the land. My first observation – brown. Just brown.”

Overall – the flight was exhausting, as expected, and I vomited twice in a LAX trash can while I waited to board. I went back in time 3 hours to LA – then forward 16 hours to Melbourne. I was jet lagged for a few solid days. The very fist thing I did when I left the airport was go to the beach and see the Ocean. Wow.

My name is Mariah Munger and I am an Art Education major! I am spending the Spring 2015 semester abroad in Melbourne, Australia, and could not be more excited. I hope to explore, learn, and inspire others to take a big step into this amazing world we live in each day.

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